© Copyright 2021 by Nischal Samrat
2006. It was on the occasion of the afternoon when I took my first
breath and gave out my cry to announce to everyone about my presence
into the world. I didn’t knew that a long journey was waiting
for me to get started. I didn’t knew about the people whom I
would likely to meet in the future who would end up deceiving me.
Growing up in a joint family consisting of nearly 12-14 members in the house, I didn’t knew how the world was actually like. I could always feel that my family members were treating me bad. I wasn’t allowed to watch the television. Except my mother, father, and myself, everyone would choose to watch what they desire to. I could never forget the day I saw my mother crying in our room. I didn’t know the reason for her tears so I told her that I would leave the house if she doesn’t stop crying. Later, she calmed herself down and went with the flow of her life. My mother used to go to work in the morning and return late night. Meanwhile, my father used to stay in the house and I used to spend my time by going to school, returning home, completing my works, and playing with my cousin sister.
One day, during the course of night, my parents had gone out for a walk. I was in the house along with my family. Everyone were watching a movie. When a dance in the movie started to play, I couldn’t control my feet and I started to dance. I didn’t know what I was doing but I felt the beats of the song and danced along with it. Then I slipped to the floor, so badly, that I lost a tooth and blood was bleeding from my mouth. I was petrified by it. Immediately my cousin brother took me to the bathroom and started to pour some water in my mouth and I used to gargle it and spit it out. When my parents came back home, it was the worst sight that they could ever have. At that time, I wasn’t even four years old.
After some months, I was playing with myself near the entrance of our house. My cousin brother called me from the opposite side of the road in front of our house. He wanted the hat which was near me. So I grabbed the hat in my hands and I started to run outside the gate and immediately a motorbike dashed into me and I fell on the hard stony footpath. Blood was bleeding from my leg and my forehead near my right eye. I was taken to a small clinic where our family doctor used to check his patients. We didn’t have any appointment with the doctor but he decided to treat me first. For several weeks I had to wear a bandage on my left leg which was injured and I had to apply an anti-septic cream near my right eye where a scar had formed which never faded away just like the scar in my mother’s heart after she had seen me in that condition.
After a year, my family decided to leave the house and settle in different houses nearby. My mother was very happy with that decision and felt like a free bird. I was clueless of what was happening around me as everyone were packing up their things in boxes. I could remember that it was only during that time, I was allowed to watch the television as no one even cared about it. I watched cartoons for like a day or two until they finally left the house leaving behind literally nothing except my parents and some of the things which my mother had bought for us.
After a couple of days, we found a new house which was a bit far from that house and settled there for nearly two years. I learnt that we had left that house as my uncle had contacted a building constructor who would demolish the house and build a building in that place. I didn’t even care about that house anymore. All I could realize was that I had become much lonelier than before. We bought basic requirements for our house like a bed, utensils, television, and much more. My mother bought me toys which were affordable and I used play with them. Later, by watching the television, I used to feel a like a different person. In most of the cartoons there would be a loner who gets a friend who would help him in difficult times. Sometimes I used to cry by presuming that I was alone and I wanted someone who could come and change my life forever. I used to draw cartoons on a blank piece of paper, color it, and cut it at the edges. I used to narrate my own tales and play with the paper cartoon toys. I used to hallucinate my surroundings and transport myself into a different location where my paper toys used to stay and go with the flow of the story.
During school, I wasn’t such a great student. I was shy. I used to answer to my teachers only when they used to ask me a question. I had just 3-4 friends whose names I could remember at that time. When I was studying in first grade, it was the final week before the final examination. My teacher gave me some books to distribute to the students. I gave one back to a classmate whose name I could remember. I didn’t know the names of any of my classmates. My teacher saw me struggling to distribute and she called me to her. As I went near her, she gave me a punishment to stand outside in the corridor as I couldn’t distribute the books. I couldn’t stop my tears from flowing. I felt very embarrassed in front of everyone. When I was crying, a student from another class was passing nearby me. He asked me whether it was my first time. I couldn’t reply to him as I couldn’t control my sadness. He asked me a couple of times and then he walked away towards his class. Later the teacher called me in and tried to calm me down after she saw me literally cry a river. When school hours came to an end and I was leaving the class, she started to talk to me and motivate me. She lent out her hand and asked me to promise her that I would never cry again. I didn’t even knew what a promise was. Later she took my palm and kept it on hers and made me to speak out the word ‘promise’.
My English was bad during my early years. It was only during my later years that I tried to embrace it. I just had one friend when I was studying my second grade. At the end of the year I had failed in it. My mother slapped me. I couldn’t even remember what the grades were about. I had a list of ‘C’ and ‘D’ but hardly any ‘A’ grade. At that time I realized that I was having a bit problem with remembering things.
The following year, when I entered my third grade, it was like a new chapter in my life. I met my best friend, Naman, and also some bullies. We had similar thoughts. We used to share our secrets with each other and talk whenever we could get some time for ourselves. One day, our teacher was absent. A substitute teacher was appointed in her place. She let everyone do whatever they wanted to. So, every student in the class got involved in some work and I kept looking at all of them. The teacher noticed me and asked me to stand up. As I stood up, she asked me my name and inquired me about my studies and my parents. According to her, I seemed very different from the rest of the kids. She wanted to know about the profession of my parents. I replied that my mother was an engineer and my father was a tailor. I had been to my mother’s office one day where there were lots of computers and at that age the only word which I could relate to a computer was ‘engineering’. I had seen my father stitching clothes with a weaving machine sometimes during my childhood. She couldn’t believe it for some time and later asked me to carry on with my work. When I went back home, I told my parents about it. They became shocked. My mother asked me the reason why I replied to the teacher that my father was a tailor. She told me that it was an insult. She tried to convince me to tell something other than a tailor when someone asks me the same question in the future.
During my fourth grade, there was an unforgettable incident which chills my spines whenever I try to remember it. It was science class, the last class of the day. We were writing the notes which the teacher used to explain to us and write on the black board. The teacher was annoyed by the repeated noises made by some students of our class. I was sitting in the first bench. I had a friend behind me who used to stretch his legs forward and touch mine. He wanted me to turn back. I knew he was pranking me but after his several attempts went in vain, I started to tell the teacher about my problem. Since I was caught with some giggles because of my friend, she got annoyed even more and she turned back to me. She bashed my head to the wall next to me and threw my book far towards the opposite end where it fell on top of a table. Silence was spread all around. It was really unexpected. I started to cry with pain in my head. A boy screamed out loud, “Hooyah! Nischal, your book flew very far!"
Those words were literally pierced through my chest. Everyone who were gossiping, shut their mouths tight. Only one person who was sitting behind my idiotic friend called me and asked me if I were okay. I turned back and immediately turned forward as I didn’t wanted to show my crying face to anyone. After a couple of minutes, the teacher turned all her attention towards me. Most of the students who used to go back home by bus, were leaving the class. The teacher took my book and saw my notes. She realized that I had completed my notes and then I was complaining about my friend. She apologized and took me to the washroom which was on the same floor. I refused to go with her as it was girl’s washroom. She convinced me and literally dragged me there and washed my face and helped me to feel better. Never can I ever forget that incident.
Soon, I improved in my studies and the teacher herself was shocked and rewarded me a chocolate too. I had scored the highest in science than any other student. But after the final examination, my marks were pretty bad. I had scored the highest in science but my marks in other subjects were down. I had scored around 70%. My mother was very angry as usual. She always expected me to perform well in exams. She was born in a village and later found a good job in the city. She was extremely good in her studies. So, she was expecting the same in me.
When I entered my fifth grade, I could have never even predicted that it would be the year where I would start to discover myself. I had tried to mingle with some of the students and made some good friends. We started reading lots of books from the library. I decided to write my own book. Initially, five of us were meant to write it. So, one fine Sunday morning, we met in my house. The previous day I had written 3 pages of it. We discussed about the story for an hour and later we started to play badminton and couple of other games and had our lunch. Later, we discussed about it for another hour about the designs, cover page, and lots of other things. We had no clue that making a book requires a lot of effort.
A month later, I had finished writing the book all by myself. After reading it, my mother insisted me to put only my name in the book instead of anyone else. The others had helped me in nothing. It was true. I took some time to understand it and the following day, I told them that I’ll be putting just my name on the book. They all became mad at me. They were so desperate to have their names on the book along with mine. It took me a couple of weeks to convince them about the truth that I had written the book. During that time, I had a special friendship with a person called Daman, who too was involved in making the book at the beginning. He had visited my house twice. I had trusted him more than anyone. My best friend kept warning me all the time about him. He kept telling me that he had an egoistic behavior which I couldn’t see. I didn’t believe him and chose to keep up the friendship with him.
After I had finished writing my book, I had also read it more than five times to ensure that it was properly formatted without any spelling mistakes in it. The day I finished writing my book, 16th December, 2016, I wrote a four-page song called ‘Achievement’. It started my ambition to pursue music along with being a writer. After I had convinced my mother that I wanted to publish this book, she was initially surprised. There were no writers in our family. And I had written a book in such a short period of time, so she was very curious and thought that I might end up with something big someday. I could never forget that day, February 10th, 2017. It was the day I met my biggest enemy of my life. After finishing school, we set off to a far place where we had an appointment with a publisher. After we reached that place, we phoned him. After 20 minutes of searching, we finally found him. He was inside a white car. He kept his hand outside the window and signaled us to follow him.
We followed him for a while and finally reached his office. A huge banner ‘KINNARI PUBLICATIONS’ was put in front of his office. We went inside and I was already very nervous to speak to him. He took us to a small cabin which was just in front of the door. I took out a Xerox copy of the story which I had in my bag and gave it to him. He read a couple of pages in it and he flipped some pages. My heart was pounding faster than ever. I thought he was an experienced person in the industry. He looked like a smart young man with a chiseled face and an attractive hairstyle. He asked me a couple of questions about the book and I kept answering him with a bit of confidence which was left in me.
We discussed about it for an hour. He told us about the copyright and ISBN which I had never heard of. What surprised him was my age which he later took advantage of. When we came to an end of the talk, he told us to leave the copy with him. My parents agreed to it. But simultaneously after my parents agreed to it, he told us that, “If you leave this Xerox copy of the story here with me, I can even make a copy of it with a printer. This is how some other publisher could steal it from you. You can take this back.” This made us trust him even more. He asked us to give him some time to think about the book. We left the place with an experience which we could have never got if we never started to look out for a publisher.
The following day was a holiday. I woke up a bit late and each word of yesterday’s pitch meeting was running in my mind. After I had my breakfast, the publisher phoned my mother. My ears became very sharp and I was very anxious about the decision about the publisher. The moment he told my mother that he was ready to publish my story, I jumped with excitement. The excitement which I had never experienced before in my whole life. Initially, he told us that it could cost up to Rs.2,16,000 ($ 2958) but later he reduced the price to Rs.1,68,000 ($ 2301). Even though it was a big sum of money, my mother agreed to it.
My mother somehow managed to pay the money. I didn’t know from where she got it as I didn’t ask her. According to me, she had got it by selling her jewelries. Amit Kinnari, the person whose name is engraved in our minds forever, was actually a fraud like his father. The next two years were really hard. As we had trusted him and given the money, we were always worried about it. There were lots of nights where I couldn’t sleep till 2 am. I was crying hard until my mother used to calm me down. He used to make up stories on the progress of the book. I used to write melancholy songs to reduce my depression. My parents had enough of his excuses and one fine day, they went to his office without informing him. They met a person who was working there as an editor. He informed them about Amit’s past. He had not only tricked us, but lots of other people as well. Once, he was so close to go to jail but his father rescued him by returning the money. We were shocked that we were betrayed in such a way. The editor later helped us to fight with him and his father and get our money back.
After a couple of weeks we received back our money. He kept some money with himself and refused to give it back. We got back Rs.1,38,000 ($ 1890). The editor was a good man. He helped us by working on the book in CorelDraw X3. His name was Ramesh. He used to come to our home and I used to instruct him on how I wanted the page designs and he used to do it accordingly. I used to keep learning from him every time he used to come to our house. Every page of the book was colorful along with some words. Each chapter had a unique background which would help the readers to get into the feel of the story.
After the editing work was done, we applied for registering the name of our own publishing company called ‘DAWN ROSE PUBLICATIONS’. It took us nearly two months until we got the name registered for our company. Later we applied for ISBN as soon as the cover page was ready. It took another month for that. And finally, the most difficult part, the copyright. We were puzzled on how it actually worked. Me and my mother however, learnt the procedures and applied for it. We even posted 2 copies of the book which was required. We used to check the copyright portal every day. We waiting for a month and a half and received a discrepancy. We had made a mistake while filling up the e-form. So we wrote a letter and emailed it to them. A few days later, we received another discrepancy from them. We wrote three letters trying to clarify to them. After nearly three months, it showed as ‘Approved’ in the portal. We were relieved.
We had given the copies of the book to some people who gave some good reviews about it and praised my creativity. My mother kept insisting me to give a copy of it to my English teacher for her review. At the same time in my school, I had submitted my English project in which I had written a poem about clouds and how we can learn to live like clouds and move on with life no matter how hard it is. My teacher was impressed by it and she had given me full marks for it. One day, after the school hours were up, my mother came to visit my teacher. My teacher was surprised but she was convinced as she had already seen my poetry, she didn’t doubted me on writing a book.
So we went inside an empty room where she saw a copy of it. After seeing it, she asked me if I were inspired by some other book. I denied it. But later she agreed to read the book. After she told me that I was inspired by some other book, it really hit me hard. A few days later, we were all prepared to publish it. The teacher hadn’t even made a single correction in the copy which she returned to me. She still called it as an inspiration. I tried my best to change the story as much as possible within 3 hours. Later, we took it to a printing press who had agreed to print 1000 copies of it. We belonged to a community which had a party hall where each quarter of the year, a meeting used to be held. So we asked them if we could publish my book there. Initially they had agreed to it. But 3 days before the event, one of my relatives had created a problem for us. He was the member of the committee and was the manager of the party hall. According to him, writing a book is very simple and anyone can write a book. It was clear that he was jealous of me.
So we had to cancel our program and plan something else to release the book. The next day in school, a miracle happened to me. My sixth grade English teacher Ayesha, came to my class when half of the students were present and walked straight to me and apprised me that my story was very nice and she liked it. I had given it to my seventh grade English teacher but I realized later that she might have given it to my sixth grade English teacher. I was puzzled with excitement. Some students of our class started asking me about the book and I was really feeling like a celebrity. I had invited even my guitar teacher, Julius, from whom I had been learning guitar for six months so that I could learn to compose music for my songs.
A week later, we had found a good guest who agreed to be a part of the book releasing event. We had distributed invitation cards for every relative of our family to join the event. A day before the releasing event I had told all my classmates about it. Finally, on 19th December, 2018. The most important day in my life so far. I was absent to school. I prepared myself the whole day for my speech. I arrived at the party hall which was booked and I met my idiotic friend, Tirthakaar, who had arrived a couple of minutes after I reached there. Soon, some of our classmates too arrived including my best friend. After an hour, the program had begun, everything went on well, I was a bit nervous when I was giving out my speech but I handled it well. My English teacher Ayesha and her son had also come to the event.
After we released the book, everyone who had come to the event had a photo of themselves with me. Some people who bought the book, took my autograph. I had sold around 40 books that day. The money which we made by selling the books, was sufficient to pay the charges of conducting the event in that party house. After having dinner that night, I went back to my home with satisfaction. A two-year struggle finally came to an end. I was proud of myself that night. My mother too felt that our struggle finally payed off. It was a 186-page book. The book’s name was ‘Katsuwa Kalotree: Hypnosis Hillary’ where the protagonist had to travel to America for a motorcycle race along with some of his colleagues, but later meets his old friend Hillary, who had a bad childhood and turned himself to a villain. Later Katsuwa changes the mindset of his friend Hillary, who turned into a detective instead of being a hypnosis criminal. Later I realized that the name ‘Hillary’ was meant for a girl and not a boy.
During that time, I was having an idea of a new franchise in my mind. I kept the name of the protagonist as Alfred Stone. In school, we had a poem by Alfred Tennyson and at the same time I had watched some clips of the movie ‘La La Land’ on YouTube which stars actress Emma Stone. In this franchise, I wanted to depict my imagination on how I actually wanted to live my life as an enthusiastic high school genius. I had got a month’s membership at JustBooks who gave it to me as I was a young writer. When I went there to pick up two books, I searched the entire floor and found a book which tempted me. It was ‘Jack Reacher: The Visitor’. I loved its cover page. The cover page had a smooth empty road and a purple atmosphere. Looking at it, I got the plot for my story. I imagined myself riding a motorcycle on that empty road and a spirit chasing me. It took me over a month to list down a group of ideas and write down the story.
The following year, during the month of March, my seventh grade final examination was going on. After completing it, my friends and I decided to go to a mall to watch the movie ‘Captain Marvel’ on the final day of the examination. After watching the movie and playing games in the mall, it had become night. Everyone had left except Tirthakaar. We sat on the stone slab outside the mall and waited for my father to come. I told him about my love which I had kept it hidden inside me. It was bothering me for quite a lot of days. After I told him, I felt relief. I was in love with a person of our class since a month.
During the holidays, I had planned to make a short film with my friend Daman, who agreed to star in it. We did a week of rehearsals before we shoot it. During that time, I told him about my love. He promised me that it would be a secret. Soon after a week, he went on a trip to his native and the plan was cancelled. It hurt me as I had been waiting for over a year to make this short film called ‘LIGHT’, a four minute short film whose message was ‘Not to take things lightly in life’. Meanwhile, I got the ISBN and copyright of my story ‘Alfred Stone & The Vacation Hunt’. I had edited the book all by myself and took the help of Ramesh to design the cover page. He was a great teacher.
After my summer vacation were up, it felt like a nightmare to me as the school had resumed. The students of each class were shuffled. I was in a class with only Tirthakaar, as a friend. Rest of the class were pretty much like bullies except 3-4 of them who were kind sometimes. There was this teacher’s favorite student, Pavan, who was extremely good in academics and was naughty too. Pretty much like an extrovert. Every boy in the class used to follow him like sheep and treat him like a leader. This time, Daman too was there in my class. He became a best friend to Pavan as both were extroverts. He had a crush on the same person whom I liked. Daman spread the news about my love like a forest fire, most of the people in my class got to know about my love. Now they started to treat me even worse. I was absent for one day because I was sick. When I came back to school the following day, I hadn’t received a Hindi language book which everyone received the previous day.
As usual, Pavan was the class monitor. He opened the cupboard where the book was kept. He took the book and immediately threw it on the floor. He later picked it up and threw it on my desk and walked away. I could understand his ego. The following day, another idiotic follower of his, came to me and said, “You know about making babies. Yuck!” and walked away. Everyone knew me as an innocent person but now they all started to hate me because I liked the same person whom their leader was madly in love with. My best friend’s words kept hitting my mind. He had warned me before about Daman’s egoistic behavior. Not only did it ruin my love but also the environment of my class too. I was scared to go to school and I couldn’t even tell my mother or anyone about it.
One fine day, during the lunch hour, I was having my food along with my only friend, Tirthakaar and suddenly he called my name and told me to look forward. When I looked forward, my sight fell on my teacher Ayesha, who kept standing there with a smile. Her eyes looked at me proudly. Never had I felt so much warmth by anyone during hard times than the sight of my teacher. We gazed at each other for a moment. Even though I was depressed, her warmth broke out the smile on my face.
Meanwhile, my parents was travelling to different schools in order to sell my book. Selling a single book was very hard. One day, when I came back from school, she showed a letter which was written by a principal of another school. The principal was congratulating me on publishing my book and gave out a note of encouragement in that letter. She had purchased two books from us for her school’s library. After reading the letter, I felt that I was doing the right thing. I was on the right path.
A couple of days later, I finished writing my third book, ‘Alfred Stone & The Forbidden Island’. We applied for ISBN and got the copyright without any discrepancy this time. We had planned to release both of the books during the month of March but the pandemic struck us badly and till now, we aren’t getting time to release it. During my pandemic holidays, I made a couple of short films using my phone and ‘Premiere Pro’ editing software in my laptop for short film contests on YouTube but never won anything from them.
I have learnt one thing in life, that is, if we become strong from inside, we will have enough strength to battle enemies from outside. During the later years of my life, I learnt that my father never went to work and was a lazy person. My mother had to face lots of insults because of him. Everyone in our family disrespected me and my mother because my father never went to work. I had to lie to a lot of people about my father’s job. God gives us difficult times to test us. Hard times makes us stronger and we become much stronger when we have nobody to share our pain with. That is why we have to always have faith in him because god helps those who help themselves. I was able to understand the importance of money during an early age. I started to learn about financial literacy which I wouldn’t have even bothered to learn if I was living in a happy family. Writing helped me to survive depression and boosted my self-esteem. It showed me the person who I am capable of. We never got back the investment which we poured into my first book. It may be a failure, but it laid the foundation for my passion in pursuing the art of storytelling.
I am Nischal Samrat and this is the story of my life.